HOW TO RE-ENGAGE YOUR EMAIL LIST (EVEN IF YOU HAVEN’T SENT AN EMAIL IN 2 YEARS)
If I had a dollar for every time I hear the phrase “I have an email list but I don’t send emails” then I, well, wouldn’t need to send any emails!
If this is you I first want you to know you are not alone.
This is very common and very normal.
We hear it all the time “You need to grow your email list” or “The money’s in your list” so we go and setup an email list. We take courses on how to do it. We create a valuable opt-in incentive. We setup our email marketing provider and get those first signups.
And we send emails – for a while.
But then something happens. We get distracted. Or we lose the excitement. Or we didn’t see results in the first 5 minutes that “some” online marketers promise – so we give up.
And the next thing you know it’s been 6 months and now you feel guilty so you don’t send them.
OR you sheepishly send a promotional email because it’s Christmas and you have a sale – but the response is so low you think emails just aren’t for you.
But what if instead you were emailing consistently and building those relationships with your subscribers?
One where they are excited to open every email you send?
One where they buy from you because you are the first business they think of when wanting what you offer?
The only problem? While everyone seems to tell you how to build your email list. No one seems to talk about what to send after the first welcome – apart from your blogs.
Well let’s stop that here.
In this two part blog series I’ll be sharing first, how to re-engage your email list if you haven’t sent emails for a while and, second, how to use emails as an ongoing tool to build relationships with your subscribers so that they become your biggest fans.
But, first, I’ve got to give a little tough love…
THE HARSH TRUTH
If you are not emailing your list, you are leaving money on the table.
You are also missing out on a huge opportunity to connect with your most interested audience.
And if you are only emailing them once every 3 months when you have a promotion, then you could actually be doing more harm than good.
Emailing your list consistently is crucial to create relationships, to build trust and to establish a strong connection.
It shows you care enough to be showing up for your audience whether you have something to sell or not.
Not sending emails is also likely preventing you from growing your email list. Even if you have a fantastic opt-in incentive and all the sign up forms setup, you likely aren’t promoting it because you are feeling guilty about not sending those emails.
So how about just sending them and losing that guilt?
“But I don’t have time…”
Have you been posting to social media?
Have you been spending an hour each day in Facebook Groups trying to get noticed?
Have you been writing blogs or doing FB Lives?
Have you been spending hours “googling” how to get more sales or how to promote your business?
If you are doing any of the above, I would argue that email should be a higher priority for you than that.
Not that those aren’t important, but what good is getting more and more traffic or more and more leads when you aren’t looking after the leads you already have?
Email has the highest return on investment of any marketing strategy ($38 per $1 spent).
And I would argue it has the highest return on your time as well.
Yes, there is a bit of setup but once you have gotten going it is just a matter of writing an email, even as little as once a month.
And it shouldn’t take you long.
In fact, if it takes you longer than 20 minutes to write an email then you are overthinking it!
So tell me, do you have 20 minutes a week?
No? Ok, what about 20 minutes a month? I’m sure you can find that – even if *gasp* you don’t engage in Facebook Groups for a day.
Ok, now is out of the way, let’s get moving into how you can re-engage your email list if you haven’t sent an email in a while.
The quick way…
STEP 1 : STOP OVERTHINKING
News Flash: You don’t need to write 1000 word emails with the most useful / how to / top tips content you can think of.
Yes, if you have a great blog post like that or you want to send a “value bomb” (more on those later) go for it!
But, people are time poor. They don’t always want more and more and more information.
They want help!
And that help can take the form of funny stories, motivational messages or really quick tips.
They want to see people like them doing business.
Or they want to aspire to something which your product represents.
They also want to connect with people.
This modern online world is so disconnected, so if you embrace your personal brand (even if you are an e-commerce store) that will help create connection.
The bottom line? Be yourself!
Treat email like you were writing to a friend. This doesn’t have to be some corporate, polished thing. It can just be a letter.
On that note, you don’t need to make it all fancy with headers and images and links.
In fact, the more pictures the more likely an email will hit the spam folder.
So simple is often better here.
Just open up your email editor and write from the heart. Simple.
(And worst case scenario – only that list of subscribers will see it anyway so it’s a pretty safe place to experiment)
STEP 2 : BRAINSTORM ALL THE IDEAS
Knowing what to send is probably the next stumbling block we come across once we decide to sit down and write that email.
The last thing you want to do is sit down on your “email day” and stare are that darn blinking cursor and be stuck for something to write.
Instead, what if you had a big list of ideas to get started with? One that you can pull from whenever that email day comes.
Some might become blog posts or videos (which you resend) or some could just be quick gold nuggets you want to send or some could be a good ol’ fashioned rant.
Here are a couple of practical ways to get ideas quickly:
- Look at the content you already have. Blog posts or videos you haven’t sent your list yet. And/or social media posts you shared that have good engagement. Expand on those or send as is (people likely won’t remember very far back anyway).
- Think about the decision-making journey your customer goes on. What do they need to know / do / feel to be ready to buy from you? What excuses do they make? And what can you share that will help them along the way? (This blog post will help)
- Look at your Google Analytics, set the date range for a good year or two and see what content people are looking at most on your website. What topics are they most interested in? Can you go deeper into one of those areas? Or can you come at it from a different angle?
- Read this blog post where I give you 85 different ideas
- Once you are armed with a list of ideas keep them handy for “email day” or write them in a good batching session when you are feeling motivated.
This will have you feeling confident you actually have something to say before you proceed to the next step.
STEP 3 : SEND YOUR FIRST EMAILS (IN AWHILE)
The moment of truth. But don’t worry I have you covered.
To start with, I want you to send 2 emails, a week apart: A (re-) introduction and a value bomb.
Neither of these are intended as sales emails – just pure engagement.
This email is to re-introduce yourself and to remind them how they got on your email list originally.
More importantly you want to re-share your why.
Think about this as your about page in their inbox. (And there’s an easy copy, paste & tweek for you!).
Talk about who you help and how you help them without being sales-y.
Maybe share a bit of your story and why this is so important to you.
Then conclude saying “I’m in the process of creating new content for you and I’d love to know…”.
Then ask them what they want to know more about when it comes to your topic or area of expertise. Another good one is “When it comes to ________ (what you help with), what is your biggest challenge?”
Literally, ask them to reply.
This will not only start conversations with existing subscribers but it will also give you even more ideas to send!
“Value Bomb” Email
After about a week, you’ll send a second email which is all value.
This is showing them that you aren’t just sending them emails which you ask them to do something. Instead, you are giving.
This email is where you give the biggest value you can (don’t worry not every email needs to be like this).
You’ll say “Last week I sent an email asking you what ________ and one of the biggest things I heard back was ___________”
Then give them something that helps them solve that challenge.
It can be some sort of downloadable or video (which you can then re-purpose into a new opt-in incentive!) or just a solid, actionable, helpful email.
In this email, you’ll want to ask them to take action as even the smallest actions help establish that relationship and helps deliverability. In this case, it can be as simple as “follow me on Instagram here” or “If you loved this, make sure to read my blog which has much more”.
Unsubscribes will happen
Don’t freak out when you get some unsubscribes here. The longer it’s been since you’ve been emailing the higher the rate will be. That is totally OK and NOT a reflection on you.
That just means you have written your re-introduction email really well and told them who you are here to serve. Maybe they have decided that that’s not them anymore. But those who open and stay – well that’s your motivation.
STEP 4 : COMMIT
Now it’s time to see it through.
The last thing you want to do is re-engage your list and then let another 3 months slip by.
Instead decide how often you want to email your list and book it into your calendar to do.
Maybe start with an easier commitment (e.g. once a month) and as you get better increase your frequency.
You also now have a list of ideas so the writing should be easy.
You just need to do it.
STEP 5 : CLEAN
Once you’ve been emailing regularly for 3-6 months (depending on how often you are sending them), it’s important to do a list cleanout.
You don’t want to have people on your email list (and paying for the privilege!) that just aren’t opening or aren’t interested in your emails.
They may have also used a service like unroll.me which only stops them from receiving your emails but not actually unsubscribing.
To do this, you need to run a report in your email marketing provider to identify who hasn’t opened an email in the past 3-6 months. Then unsubscribe or delete them!
I do this this probably about every quarter, deleting hundreds each time and it is one of the things that ensures I’m only emailing people that want to hear from me.
Sending emails to your list is one of the best time investments you can make in your business. And if you haven’t sent an email in a while that doesn’t mean you need to start from scratch.
Instead, look at what content you have already created, how you can help and start sending those emails with a great introduction and value-bomb.
Then commit to showing up consistently. Even if it is just once a month to start you will be opening up a whole new stream of potential income and, more importantly, connection with your audience.
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